Two hundred National Police officers have been sent to train with the military’s elite airborne Brigade 911 to become a “special intervention force,” according to a statement posted to the National Police’s website on Wednesday.
“This skills training for the police force is being done in order to reduce bloodshed when doing their operations,” the statement quoted National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith as saying.
It added that the officers, who had been attending regular sessions over the past two months, had undergone sniper training and learned to use “infantry weapons.”
The special intervention force will be used to prevent “bad situations provoked by the enemy and the activities of those with opposing tendencies,” according to the statement.
Brigade 911 has long been the target of criticism from human rights groups.
In January last year, members of the brigade took part in the bloody suppression of labor demonstrations in Phnom Penh.
“There is no doubt that the 911 Brigade…committed serious human rights violations when they broke up the garment worker protest,” Brad Adams, director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said at the time.